Tue, Jul 16

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The Cooper Union - Foundation Building

Urban Futures Series / Wolf Mangelsdorf / Wechselwirkungen—Reframing Urban Planning

Partner at BuroHappold

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Urban Futures Series / Wolf Mangelsdorf / Wechselwirkungen—Reframing Urban Planning

Time & Location

Jul 16, 2019, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

The Cooper Union - Foundation Building, E 7th St, New York, NY, USA

About the event

Cities around the world are growing rapidly and one of the key challenges is to build homes cheaply and quickly. Providing mass housing at the scale at which it is needed has a fundamental impact on our cities. It risks repeating all the mistakes made in the past; we see this happening everywhere. There is an urgent need to move away from simple numbers driven growth to a focus on the urban quarter, its spaces, its ability to emerge and adapt, and people and the quality of their lives. 

The Urban Planning process is complex and our industry tends to parcel it up into disciplines that rarely talk to each other. Concentrating on architecturally driven master plans and using the engineering to make things work or optimize the solutions most often runs counter to what is needed: loose, open and varied cities that can grow over time.

Making quality of life, rather than engineering function, the driver of our work, the role of engineering and science can be reversed. It moves from checking and proving to defining, pointing, nudging and optimising, supporting and guiding the design and decision-making process. It helps to capturing, collecting and managing the details and relationships the human designer often misses, helping discover what we have called “Wechselwirkungen”, the interrelationships of the seemingly unconnected.

For this, we have developed a modelling approach that connects everything with everything, creating a data driven interdisciplinary network of engineering design. We can calibrate and test the connections or switch them on and off, using references we know and analyse, and build up our models and refine them over time. The art of place making is freed up and supported, so we can open the process to stakeholders and start meaningfully engaging them in shaping their own built enviroment. 

Wolf Mangelsdorf is a partner and structural engineer who moved from BuroHappold Engineering’s London office to New York. Since joining the firm in 2002, Wolf has been instrumental in leading large multidisciplinary teams on some of the most structurally complex projects around the world including Zaha Hadid’s City of Dreams development in Macau and the Battersea Power Station Master Plan in London. Wolf is charged with ensuring the highest level of design and technology methodologies and integrating those with the wider global practice. Additionally, he is the Global Discipline Director for structural engineering, responsible for cultivating the next generation of engineers. 

With more than two decades of experience, Wolf brings creativity, enthusiasm and a willingness to design solutions never done before to meet his clients’ aspirations. His ingenuity has enabled him to engineer signature buildings and landmarks such as the Museum of Transport in Glasgow, Scotland and the roof to the Médiacité retail center in Liege, Belgium. An expert in the field, Wolf has written, lectured and presented extensively on the topic of structuring strategies for complex geometries. He is currently leading BuroHappold’s modular technology solutions, which includes a unique engineering design system that is faster and more flexible than traditional methods. Trained as an architect and civil engineer, Wolf has a varied background having worked for an architectural practice upon graduation in Germany before moving to London in 1997. 

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